What you do in your house is worth as much as if you did it up in heaven for our Lord God. We should accustom ourselves to think of our position and work as sacred and well-pleasing to God, not on account of the position and work, but on account of the word and faith from which the obedience and the work flow. ~ Martin Luther

Monday, October 19, 2015

First Frost

It happened.  First frost.  The ending of another garden season.  I am always happy to welcome the first frost because I know that with it, the garden chores will be coming to an end.  Trust me, by October, I am ready for them to be coming to an end!  But a garden doesn't go out with a slow fizzle but with a mad dash.  In preparation for the first frost, we had to get everything we could out of the garden and off of the trees.  And that meant a very busy week indeed.

Lots of green tomatoes to line all the windowsills and too many too small peppers (if only they had a bit more time!).  Vases of cosmos and zinnias, lemon verbena and basil, squashes both summer and winter.  Digging up the sweet potatoes.  Renegade beets.  Too many apples to pick- many still hang frozen on their branches.  All week we've been digging up and bringing in.

Saturday was applesauce making day. 37 quarts of applesauce made- and only half the apples we had picked used up.  I had hoped to make at least 52 quarts (for once a week applesauce eating) but a girl can only do so much in a day even with many small, helpful hands in the kitchen working alongside her.

The children gathered 'round and dove right in to the apple chores when I first began.  Adele' said "Mama, I wanna be just like you when I grow up.  It's so fun to can."  As time went on, one by one they eventually peetered out and scooted off to do other things, but every now and again I would find myself with some more helpers before they again scooted off.  By 6:30 pm, as I was finishing off the last of the canning dishes, Adele' had come again to help with apples and was filling up the last of the jars with applesauce.  Says she: "Canning is fun in the beginning but when you work at it all day, it can make you pretty tired."  smile.  How right you are.

I had hoped to fill up many more buckets of apples before frost so that when we host a church picnic in a few weeks, we could have a cider-making party at the same time.  The rest of the apples we never sauced will go for the cider but the yield won't be nearly as substantial as I had hoped.  I was hoping to can some cider for drinking later.  The frozen apples taunt me.  

I can never seem to get everything done that I would like and, even though this is a fact of life for every single person on this planet, it has been a constant struggle for me to accept in my own life- and probably always will be.  

I don't know why I am a glass-half-full sort of girl in every aspect of life except in regard to my own personal achievements/limitations but I don't like that about myself.  I tend to see the frozen apples on the tree, wasting away, instead of the jars on the counter.  Maybe it is a healthy way to stay humble and prevents a person from becoming stagnant in life...maybe it is a good thing.  I just wish it didn't feel so much like failing.  Is this a woman thing?  Is it a me thing?  Is it the outworking of humbleness or ingratitude?  Is it a good thing or a bad thing?  

I wonder...


...they call me mommy... said...

I think you are way too hard on yourself! You do SOOOOO MUCH. (((HUGS))) I wish I had a little MORE of your drive and self-discipline to finish things! The frost photos are BREATHTAKING! Have good week, Rebecca! :)

Christina Gomez said...

I agree with the above comment! Beautiful pictures! Take it easy on yourself.

Leah T. said...

A fellow fsrmer's wife seems to think that a frost shouldn't hurt the apples too much. Maybe you can get some more picked for cider! Not that you don't have a bazillion other thins on your plate. ;)

Ulli said...

Your photography is stunning--as usual! What a beautiful First Frost--one for the pages of a book or calendar. Your kitchen work, and bowls and baskets of bounty--gorgeous and satisfying. (include in your calendar please!) And I agree with the other posters--don't be so hard on yourself. You have a lot on your plate with more to come. Next year host an apple picking party with friends and neighbors, and then the picnic with cider making two weeks later... just a thought...

Renata AtSunnyside said...

I wondered if you picked the apples - if you would be able to use them for cider?
You do amazing amounts of work & I love reading here because you are so inspiring Rebecca. Don't be hard on yourself!
Enjoy every drop of the apple sauce. We are going into garden season & I have expanded this year & we are planting hopefully this weekend. Such a crazy, busy time (but so exciting too with the dreams of produce).

Anonymous said...

We all beat ourselves up Rebecca, but if I may say so gently, you beat yourself extra hard and not just in things you want to accomplish but also in things like looks (I am referring to the Tiddle Pregnancy photo shoot). You do a lot of work, homeschooling, cooking, canning and so on. Honestly, I love to see pictures, but I don't think I can live your life simply because I am too lazy. I say this in a very admiring way with no hint of criticism of negativity because I so admire your work ethic and your husband's too.

I do feel you are a perfectionist and try really hard to be a good steward and work hard at it. But you need to learn to give yourself grace. If you saw me or any woman still with frozen apples on her trees but with cans and jars of hours of hard work canning, would you consider us lazy or industrious ? Then why don't you give yourself the same grace. I am short and dumpy in real life, shorter and dumpier while pregnant, but I am pretty sure you would consider me pretty if you saw me in real life. Trust me I am nowhere as good looking or tall as you. Yet you beat yourself up. Give yourself a little of the grace you give others Rebecca. I apologize if I have offended you but if you believe nothing I say, please believe that you are a hard working woman who does so much than most people do. Just learn to treat yourself with a little of the grace you lavish on others.

Rebecca said...

I suppose, from the comments here, that it is a 'me' thing after all. Shucks. I kinda sorta hoped it had been a thing lots of people struggle with.

I wrote the sentiments within the context of apples, but I was really trying to describe something much more of a general principle that I struggle with throughout the whole of my life. Apples just happened to be the subject of the day.

I don't know that I need to be less hard on myself in this particular instance...but I wonder (in a more general sense) if this characteristic of mine is a healthy one or a hinderance. It feels like both at different times.

I suppose, as with all things in this life, there is a ditch on both sides of the road and there can be both good and bad aspects of all things and it takes wisdom to sort it all out.

Nevertheless, thank you all for your encouragement and kind support! And Leah- I think we may be able to have a few more for cider after all. They don't seem to be as squishy as I had thought they would be. :-)

Anonymous said...

I think lots of women are too hard on themselves. I've also read that high-achieving business leaders like CEOs, whether male or female, are frequently hard on themselves. Our strengthens are often our weaknesses, right? What pushes us to work well may also chip away at our contentment. So maybe we're on to something when we question whether it's a good or bad thing. It's probably some of both! :) And maybe God does keep us humble this way, by letting us need to rest in him, even with our strengths.

Also: I think the response on this thread reflects what an objectively capable lady you are, Rebecca. :)

Alyssa Corley said...

I'm a glass 1/4 full kind of girl which is why I consistently have to work on realizing that life isn't about perfection but instead try and practice gratitude. I think that generally it just means that you are driven person and a hard worker and also a good steward...those are good things. :) You accomplish so much and inspire me so much. We are looking for a piece of land right now and I wish I lived near you so you could show me how to garden!

Rebecca said...

There has got to be some land near us for sale Alyssa...jobs- well, that's another thing. ;-)

Abigail said...

These comments contain a lot of truth, yours included.

When our breath fails, and we step from here to There, our Lord's gentle welcome of "good and faithful servants" will be rooted more in the breadth and manner of our love than in how many lists we were able to successfully cross off. Quite often this love, especially as mothers making a home for our own, takes the form of gleaming jars of applesauce lined up on the countertop and likewise tangible things, but more often it's something that cannot be measured or marked with a satisfying check.

I know you know this, but sometimes it's hard to feel it, especially when there is always an overwhelming amount To Do and only one you to Get It Done.

Your love is present and generous.
Turn your eyes from the dangling apples and the eternally unfinished lists and take heart! :)